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98 Deville D'Elegance - Transmission Rebuild Needed

3876 Views 22 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  iametarq
I'm brand new to this forum and I own a 1998 DeVille D'Elegance with 118,500 miles on it. I've had this car for 3 years and have performed the regular maintenance. At 95,000 miles I did the 100,000 suggested maintenance. Now my car chugs on the highway when it tries to go into fourth gear. I was told by the Cadi dealership that I need a new transmission or a rebuild (at $4600 to $6000 cost).

Decision: Fix or get rid of car? I love my car (looks like crushed pearls and looks new; has all the bells & whistles). I don't like the looks of the new DeVilles, nor do they have all the options mine has. So I decided to try to get mine fixed. Am getting a quote from a reputable transmission repair shop.

My question is, does this sound like a normal thing that happens to Cadillacs or am I in trouble? Any thoughts?

Thanks much for reading this!
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No, this is not normal. The 4T80E trans is very reliable. Discribe your "Chugging" in a little more detail. After I had my fuel rail recall done, I experience a similar situation that I thought was trans related. It turned out to be a plug wire related misfire.
Thanks for your reply. The chugging feels like the fuel injectors stop for a second then start working again. Kind of like a reverse surge (lack of power) and it's not when accelerating. The dealer pulled these codes from the car:
P0463, P0471, P1527.

Right now I'm driving in 3rd gear and the car seems ok but I won't go over 55 just in case I'm screwing up my car more.

The shop we are going to only does transmissions and he said from what it sounds like, it might not be a full out rebuild - quoted approximately $1700-$2200. The highest he said would be $2800.
snowface said:
The shop we are going to only does transmissions and he said from what it sounds like, it might not be a full out rebuild - quoted approximately $1700-$2200. The highest he said would be $2800.
Maybe just my suspicious nature but I think they all say that. I'd get a 2nd and 3rd opinion.
Thanks for the warning. I'm glad I read your post last night before we took the car in to the transmission shop. Last night I took it for a long drive (about an hour on and off the highway) and it shifted smoothly every single time. (The only way I can tell when it shifts is when I watch the RPMs). No problems at all. My husband and I decided to take a "wait and see" approach before we sink in the money - especially if the problem was only a one-timer.

Thanks so much for your input. I don't want to just throw away almost $2K for a nonexistent problem. The weird thing is that when it was "acting up", the engine light never came on, but I personally saw the service manager pull up the codes.

There were also 2 other for the suspension system, but that warning has been going off since I got the car and no one could find a problem with it, so now I just ignore it.
If you have not had the transmission fluid changed, now would be a good time to do it. DO NOT let anyone talk you into a flush. Just drain and refill. See the Technical Archive, top left of this page for more info on it.
Ranger said:
If you have not had the transmission fluid changed, now would be a good time to do it. DO NOT let anyone talk you into a flush. Just drain and refill. See the Technical Archive, top left of this page for more info on it.
Wouldn't it be wise to pull your codes and see if its simply transmission solenoids, which are a common fix and relatively cheap?
Always a good place to start but I would not expect solenoids to cause this type of symptom. I always thought a failed solenoid would simply not shift.
Those almost look like OBD I codes not OBD II (OBD I is 95 and older [some 96's also] OBD II is 96 and newer)... but let's see what they are... my bad they are correct just having a brain cramp... P0463, P0471, P1527 were the codes you said he pulled...
P0463 - Fuel Level Sensor Circuit High Voltage
P0471 - Exhaust Pressure Sensor Range/Performance
P1527 - Transmission Range to Pressure Switch Correlation

Hmm... well I'm not a tech but I'd say it's a sensor rather than a rebuild... a rebuild would be if the clutches and / or bands were worn or the torque converter was bad... these are electronic failures.... did he happen to say if they were history or current?

I have the SAME car as you (LOVE IT!) mine has just over 60,000 miles on it... do this, take it for a drive, when you get home (put the car in park but leave the engine running) press and hold the OFF button to the right of the instrument cluster (for the AC controls) while holding that press the RED warmer temp button above it until all the lights on the dash turn on (you'll know it when it happens) that is diagnositc mode, write down EXACTLY what codes you find - like PCM P1527 HISTORY or P1527 CURRENT, at the end you will be presented with PCM? to CLEAR the codes press the fan speed higher button other wise to exit either press the RECIRCULATE button or turn the ignition off.

If it's a history code then it happened in the past and not durring the current driving cycle, if it's current then it was from this driving cycle. That will probably help us narrow it down.... I occasionally get a code than was just a glitch so when I clear the codes I drive a while (few days) to see if it comes back.
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We had the transmission fluid replaced yesterday. Today I drove the car and did the diagnostic mode listing and here it is:

PCM P0463 History
PCM P0741 History
PCM P1527 History
TCS C1286 History
TCS C1287 Current

No codes for: IPC, ACM, SDM, PZM, IRC, RFA, MSM, MMM

Car is still shifting smoothly. Thanks for the advice everyone.

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The two TCS codes are for the Traction Control System and are as follows:

C1286 - Steering Sensor Bias Malfunction
C1287 - Steering Sensor Rate Malfunction

The Others are the Powertrain Control Module (Engine Computer) and are as follows:

P0463 - Fuel Level Sensor Circuit High Voltage
P0741 - TCC System Stuck Off
P1527 - Transmission Range to Pressure Switch Correlation
I would reset the codes and drive a few days and see what comes back
I will throw one thing in. Solenoids don't always throw codes and they may act intermittently when first starting to fail.

Changing trans fluid may free up a sticky solenoid (it has worked for me) so if that is the problem it may be fixed.
Thanks for all the info! Car still drives great - no problems. Seems like it was just a fluke. I've been checking the codes periodically and nothing new. Except I keep getting the TCS C1287 code. It's been looked at before and I'm told that it's a sensor and not worth fixing because there's nothing wrong with the stability system. I have gotten that code for 3 years now . . . . it stopped coming on this summer and now that it cooled off (as much as Phoenix cools off) it comes on at least once on my drive to work. On the way home it doesn't do it.

But anyway, my transmission seems ok. New fluid and still ok. I'll keep an eye on it and keep checking the codes.
It's back . . . . Just as I thought everything is ok, this morning on the way in, my car did some weird surge thingie, then the engine light actually came on. Last time there was no engine light when the car acted up. This surge thing was very minor, ended after a split second. I pulled over and pulled the codes and it was the PCM P0741 code again. Driving and shifting normally otherwise, just now my engine light is stuck on. But I thought the engine light was just for emissions (according to my owner's manual).

Since it's driving normally, do you see a problem with me driving with the engine light still on (if it stays on when I get back into the car tonight)? Or should I take it to that transmission guy. Since it is one of the same codes, I really don't want to pay all that money for an unnecessary rebuild.

By the way, the definition below "TCC system stuck off" - what is the TCC system?
TCC = Torque Converter Clutch. It locks the converter up so there is no slippage at about 41 MPH. If it doesn't lock up, there is some slippage. Wost case to my understanding is that you will run 100-200 higher RPM at any given speed and fuel milage may suffer by maybe 1 MPG (probably less).
IM not a trans expert but it sounds like the tcc is trying to engage but it doesnt engage properly for that second so then the pcm shuts off the tcc and you get that code saying its stuck OFF.

is it possible on the deville to disconnect the tcc connector without setting a service engine light?

Snow is this problem only occuring about 40mph?

what might seem as shifting into fourth might be the slight bump that is felt when the tcc is trying to engage
I too have this dreaded p0741 code.It started for the first time a few months ago,now it shown up every morning for the last 3 days(96 STS).There is no way i am going to spend 1000s on this car.Ranger,you seem to feel it is not neccessary to dump a pile of money at this.I think I will let it go and take my of right now,the car drives and shifts fine.Do you think any further damage can occur that would make the problem worse?
Well, I am no tranny expert but here is my understanding. Older automatic transmission ALL had some slippage. That was normal. As fuel economy became more and more important, automakers looked for ways to improve it. One way was to lock up the trans to the engine like a manual trans clutch. Hence the TCC (previously VCC). So if it is not working, you simply have a little slippage like all cars did 20 years ago. It didn't hurt them any so I wouldn't think it will hurt yours. Like I said, worst case maybe 1 MPG.
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